Is There a Cheaper Alternative?

As I am thinking about improving my cash flow by 1% monthly over the next 12 months with the goal of giving myself a 12% effective raise and developing an emergency cash cushion, this is one question that I need to be asking myself constantly in almost every situation.

The concept of using cheaper alternatives without sacrificing lifestyle too much is something that has hit me pretty hard over the last few weeks, and I would like to offer a few examples from my own life in order to stimulate some thought and discussion.

My brother-in-law and I enjoy golfing immensely.  Unfortunately, I can’t get out as much as I would like since I am so busy.  One of the things that I would like is a golf GPS that would tell me the distance to the hole so I don’t have to spend time looking for markers on the course.  These devices can cost a few hundred dollars.  But now, it is possible to get an app for your smart phone for free.  Since I don’t get out all that often, why pay hundreds when I can get what I want for free?

Another golf example:  It costs to play golf but it is possible to get that golf fix and save money by playing 9 holes instead of 18 or walking instead of using a cart.  There are some golf courses near my house that are pretty easy to walk because the holes are not that far away from each other and the total distance isn’t that far.  I could also spend less by going to the driving range.  Sometimes just hitting a bucket of balls is enough to make me feel like I have been able to get in some golfing.  Hitting a bucket a couple times per month and playing one round is a lot cheaper than playing 3 rounds in a month.

Here is another example:  Recently the ice maker in our refrigerator/freezer stopped working.  The rest of the appliance was working just fine so rather than purchase a new one or have a repairman come out, my wife purchased a new ice maker at Lowe’s for $55.  I was able to unscrew the broken one, unhook the electric connection, and replace it last Sunday afternoon in 45 minutes.  I didn’t have to mess with the water at all since the ice was freezing in the container but it just wouldn’t dump out.  I figured there was something with the motor.  So, rather than spend money for a new appliance or even a repairman, for $55 and 45 minutes of my time, we now have plenty of ice for summer.

I would love to hear your examples of how you have been able to save money, improve cash flow, and not give up an ounce of your lifestyle.  Please share and comment below.

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